US Politics- Origin And History, the United States is a federal republic in which the president, Congress, and federal courts share powers reserved to the national government according to its Constitution.
US Politics- Origin And History
The federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.
The executive branch is headed by the President and is formally independent of both the legislature and the judiciary. The cabinet serves as a set of advisers to the President. They include the Vice President and heads of the executive departments.
Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The judicial branch (or judiciary), composed of the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, exercises judicial power. The judiciary’s function is to interpret the United States Constitution and federal laws and regulations.
This includes resolving disputes between the executive and legislative branches. The federal government’s structure is codified in the Constitution. The leaders of the American Revolution did not like the idea of parties and political battles between parties.
Upon his retirement from public life in 1796, George Washington warned Americans against “faction” (parties). James Madison thought parties were probably necessary, although he did not entirely approve of them. USA- Germany- War History, On 11 December 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States
Alexander Hamilton thought that faction was a vice to be guarded against at all times. Thomas Jefferson declared in 1789, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.” Nevertheless, the men who held these views founded the first two great American political parties.
The United States Constitution does not mention political parties, primarily because the Founding Fathers did not intend for American politics to be partisan. In Federalist Papers No. 9 and No. 10, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, respectively, wrote specifically about the dangers of domestic political factions.
In addition, the first President of the United States, George Washington, was not a member of any political party at the time of his election or during his tenure as president. Washington hoped that political parties would not be formed, fearing conflict and stagnation.
Nevertheless, the beginnings of the American two-party system emerged from his immediate circle of advisers. Hamilton and Madison ended up being the core leaders in this emerging party system.
Unlike in some parliamentary systems, Americans vote for a specific candidate instead of directly selecting a particular political party. With a federal government, officials are elected at the federal (national), state and local levels.
On a national level, the President, is elected indirectly by the people, through an Electoral College. In modern times, the electors virtually always vote with the popular vote of their state. All members of Congress, and the offices at the state and local levels are directly elected.
Various federal and state laws regulate elections. The United States Constitution defines (to a basic extent) how federal elections are held, in Article One and Article Two and various amendments.
State law regulates most aspects of electoral law, including primaries, the eligibility of voters (beyond the basic constitutional definition), the running of each state’s electoral college, and the running of state and local elections.
In modern times, in partisan elections, candidates are nominated by a political party or seek public office as an independent. Each state has significant discretion in deciding how candidates are nominated, and thus eligible to appear on the election ballot.
Typically, major party candidates are formally chosen in a party primary or convention, whereas minor party and Independents are required to complete a petitioning process.
Two political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, have dominated American politics since the American Civil War, although smaller parties exist such as the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, and the Constitution Party.
Generally, the Democratic Party is commonly known as the left-wing party within the United States, while the Republican Party is commonly known as the United States’ right-wing party.
There are a few major differences between the political system of the United States and that of most other developed democracies. These include greater power in the upper house of the legislature, a wider scope of power held by the Supreme Court, the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive, and the dominance of only two main parties.
Third parties have less political influence in the United States than in other democratically run developed countries; this is because of a combination of stringent historic controls.
These controls take shape in the form of state and federal laws, informal media prohibitions, and winner-take-all elections, and include ballot access issues and exclusive debate rules. There have been five United States presidential elections in which the winner lost the popular vote. Palestine And Israel- Major Conflict, Palestine officially the State of Palestine, is a de jure sovereign state in the Middle East claiming the West Bank
Today both parties agree in general on social security, unemployment insurance, basic foreign policy, and civil rights. The issues on which they disagree often are not goals so much as means: how best to keep the economy growing, protect the environment, and maintain a strong national defense.
In general, Republicans tend to oppose government programs as solutions to national problems. Democrats tend to believe that government can and should act for good. However, the parties’ views on government’s role often depend on the specific issue or program in question.
Unlike Britain but like most nation states, the American political system is clearly defined by basic documents. The Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the Constitution of 1789 form the foundations of the United States federal government.
The Declaration of Independence establishes the United States as an independent political entity, while the Constitution creates the basic structure of the federal government.
Both documents are on display in the National Archives and Records Administration Building in Washington, D.C. which I have visited several times.
Further information on the thinking expressed in the Constitution can be found in the Federalist Papers which are a series of 85 articles and essays published in 1787-1788 promoting the ratification of the Constitution.
The United States Constitution is both the longest-lasting in the world, being over two centuries old, and the shortest in the world, having just seven articles and 27 amendments.
As well as its age and brevity, the US Constitution is notable for being a remarkably stable document. The first 10 amendments were all carried in 1789 – the same year as the original constitution – and are collectively known as the Bill of Rights.
If one accepts that these first 10 amendments were in effect part of the original constitutional settlement, there have only been 17 amendments in over 200 years (the last substantive one – reduction of the voting age to 18 – in 1971).
One of the major reasons for this relative immutability is that – quite deliberately on the part of its drafters – the Constitution is a very difficult instrument to change. USA- Most Powerful Nation Around The World, it is the fourth-largest in area and third-largest in population. Countries with greater area than the U.S., such as Russia, have way too much unusable land.
First, a proposed amendment has to secure a two-thirds vote of members present in both houses of Congress. Then three-quarters of the state legislatures have to ratify the proposed change (this stage may or may not be governed by a specific time limit).
- LIBERTY: Most people believe in the right to be free, as long as another’s rights aren’t abused.
- EQUALITY: This generally translates as “equality of opportunity,” not absolute equality.
- Democracy: Elected officials are accountable to the people. Citizens have the responsibility to choose
their officials thoughtfully and wisely.
- INDIVIDUALISM: The individual’s rights are valued above those of the state (government); individual
initiative and responsibility are strongly encouraged.
- THE RULE OF LAW: Government is based on a body of law applied equally and fairly, not on the whims of a
- NATIONALISM: Despite some current negative attitudes toward the government, most Americans are proud of our past and tend to DE-emphasize problems, such as intolerance or military setbacks. This value includes the belief that we are stronger and more virtuous than other nations.
- CAPITALISM: At the heart of the American Dream are beliefs in the rights to own private property and compete freely in OPEN MARKETS with as little government involvement as possible.
Political parties as we know them did not begin to develop until the late 1600s. The ancient Greeks, who were pioneers in developing democracy, had no organized political parties in the modern sense.
The senate of the ancient Romans had two groups that represented people with different interests — the Patricians and the Plebeians. The Patricians represented noble families. USA Armed Force- History, the military history of the United States spans a period of over two centuries.
The Plebeians represented the wealthy merchants and the middle class. Although these two groups often mingled, at times they voted as factions, or parties, on particular issues that were important to the groups they represented.
For many centuries after the fall of Rome (AD 476), the people of Europe had little voice in politics. Thus there were no true political parties — only factions that supported one noble family or another.
Political parties developed as representative assemblies gained power. In England, this change began after what was called the Popish Plot of 1678.
Criteria for President: US Politics- Origin And History
The President is the head of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States. He – so far, the position has always been held by a man – is both the head of state and the head of government, as well as the military commander-in-chief and chief diplomat.
The President presides over the executive branch of the government, a vast organisation numbering about four million people, including one million active-duty military personnel. The so-called Hatch Act of 1939 forbids anyone in the executive branch – except the President or Vice-President – from using his or her official position to engage in political activity.
Who is eligible to become a President? US Politics- Origin And History
- Be a natural-born citizen of the United States
- Be at least 35 years old
- Have lived in the US for at least 14 years
How is a President chosen? US Politics- Origin And History
The President is elected for a fixed term of four years and may serve a maximum of two terms. Originally there was no constitutional limit on the number of terms that a President could serve in office and the first President George Washington set the precedent of serving simply two terms.
Following the election of Franklin D Roosevelt to a record four terms, it was decided to limit terms to two and the relevant constitutional change – the 22nd Amendment – was enacted in 1951.
Elections are always held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November to coincide with Congressional elections. So the last election was held on 8 November 2016 and the next eelction will be held on 3 November 2020.
The President is not elected directly by the voters but by an Electoral College representing each state on the basis of a combination of the number of members in the Senate (two for each state regardless of size) and the number of members in the House of Representatives (roughly proportional to population).
The states with the largest number of votes are California (55), Texas (38) and New York (29). The states with the smallest number of votes – there are seven of them – have only three votes. The District of Columbia, which has no voting representation in Congress, has three Electoral College votes. In effect, therefore, the Presidential election is not one election but 51.
The total Electoral College vote is 538. This means that, to become President, a candidate has to win at least 270 electoral votes.
The voting system awards the Electoral College votes from each state to delegates committed to vote for a certain candidate in a “winner take all” system, with the exception of Maine and Nebraska (which award their Electoral College votes according to Congressional Districts rather than for the state as a whole).
In practice, most states are firmly Democrat – for instance, California and New York – or firmly Republican – for instance, Texas and Tennessee.
Therefore, candidates concentrate their appearances and resources on the so-called “battleground states”, those that might go to either party.
The three largest battleground or swing states are Florida (29 votes), Pennsylvania (20) and Ohio (18). Others include North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9), Iowa (6) and Nevada (6).
This system of election means that a candidate can win the largest number of votes nationwide but fail to win the largest number of votes in the Electoral College and therefore fail to become President.
Indeed, in practice, this has happened four times in US history: 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016. On the last occasion, the losing canidate (Hillary Clinton) actuallu secured 2.9 million more votes than the winning candidate (Donald Trump).
If this seems strange (at least to non-Americans), the explanation is that the ‘founding fathers’ who drafted the American Constitution did not wish to give too much power to the people and so devised a system that gives the ultimate power of electing the President to members of the Electoral College.
The same Constitution, however, enables each state to determine how its members in the Electoral College are chosen and since the 1820s states have chosen their electors by a direct vote of the people.
The United States is the only example in the world of an indirectly elected executive president.
In the event that the Electoral College is evenly divided between two candidates or no candidate secures a majority of the votes, the constitution provides that the choice of President is made by the House of Representatives and the choice of Vice-President is made by the Senate.
In the first case, the representatives of each state have to agree collectively on the allocation of a single vote. In the second case, each senator has one vote. This has actually happened twice – in 1800 and 1824.
In 1800, the House of Representatives, after 35 votes in which neither Thomas Jefferson nor Aaron Burr obtained a majority, elected Jefferson on the 36th ballot.
In 1824, neither John Quincy Adams nor Andrew Jackson was able to secure a majority of the votes in the Electoral College and the House of Representatives chose Adams even though he had fewer Electoral Colleage votes and fewer votes at the ballot boxes than Jackson.
What are the powers of the President? US Politics- Origin And History
- Within the executive branch, the President has broad constitutional powers to manage national affairs and the workings of the federal government.
- The President may issue executive orders to affect internal policies.
- The use of executive orders has varied enormously between presidents and is often a controversial matter since, in effect, it is bypassing the Congress to achieve what would otherwise require legislation.
- Very few such orders were issued until the time of Abraham Lincoln (the Emancipation Declaration was such an order); use of executive orders was considerable and peaked during the terms of the seven presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to Franklin D Roosevelt.
- Barack Obama has made very sparing use of this power, notably to reform immigration law and to tighten gun controls.
- Executive orders can be overturned by a succeeding President.
- The President has the power to recommend measures to Congress and may sign or veto legislation passed by Congress.
- The Congress may override a presidential veto but only by a two-thirds majority in each house.
- The President has the authority to appoint Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices.
- Federal judges, and ambassadors but only with the’advice and consent’ of the Senate which can be problematic especially when the Senate is controlled by a different political party to that of the President.
- The President has the power to pardon criminals convicted of offences against the federal government and most controversially President Gerald Ford used this power to pardon his predecessor Richard Nixon
- The President has the power to make treaties with the ‘advice and consent’ of the Senate.